Markets, Inflation, European Observations, and The Dangers of Comparison – Finger Financial Five #94

“The last of human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Victor Frankl

We often think we are unique and our problems are bigger than everyone else’s. My investments went down and now (fill in your own fear here). Inflation is high and it is (fill in who to blame here). Not long ago (fill in a memory of how good something used to be). 

First, how many times in your life has the worst thing you imagined actually happened? Probably very little. Our pain is mostly our own doing. Like dragging our own unique bag of bricks, slowing us down, taking away from our present moment. 

There is a mental exercise called negative visualization where you think the worst is going to happen and plan how you react to it. When the worst does not happen, you feel more appreciative. 

Second, when we think of the past, we recall memories that justify how we feel in the present. If we want to feel anxious, we remember how good things used to be compared to how they are now. If we want to feel accomplished, we think of the progress we have made. Our mood can change what our eyes see. 

We have selective memories of the past and expectations of the future. Our memories and expectations we focus on, is choosing our own way. With practice, we can control our focus. 

Does this mean we just choose to feel better and do nothing?

Of course not. 

It means from a calm mind comes clear thoughts. With clear thoughts we have a better chance to choose our next best steps.  

Calmness is a superpower.

Let me share with you a story…

Traveling to Bulgaria usually takes me 24 hours, three flights plus layovers. I made it in 18 hours. The trip a couple weeks ago took me almost 60 hours. Almost every imaginable problem happened. I won’t bore you with the delay details. Let’s just say it was like the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, minus the burning car and John Candy with his hand between two pillows. 

Sitting at JFK airport waiting for my connecting flight for 16 hours I thought, how long did it take to travel this distance 200 years ago? Probably two or three months. I guess I am lucky. I had my headphones, iPad, and Netflix shows downloaded instead of two months sailing on a wooden ship. 

Comparing this trip to one that took only 18 hours, would not put me in the best mood. The same is true when comparing your portfolio value. It was this high at the beginning of the year and now it is this. How much was it 5 years ago? 10 years ago? 

Were you able to live your life over that period of time? Can you still live your life now??

Selective comparison can be our prison or our freedom.

We choose our own attitude. We have our own way.

But man, I wish it didn’t take 60 hours… 🙂

European observations:

The people I have talked to said three things:

Inflation is high (20%), gas is expensive ($7.20/g), and it is hard to find good workers.

Sound familiar? 

On the lighter side, the food is great here. My favorite is the Shopska salad. It has cucumbers, tomatoes, and Bulgarian Feta Cheese. 

We drove four hours to the beach after I landed. The highway is very much like our I-95 with one major distinction: slow people drive on the right, fast people pass on the left. What an incredible and genius concept. Maybe we can make that a rule in the United States?

Iren had three suitcases. I had one. Mine came after 7 days, two after 14 days, and another after 21 days. I highly recommend Apple AirTag. I could see where my bag was at all times. I could tell when it made it to the airport. 

Hope all is well with you and your family,


Finger Financial Five – 5 points in 5 minutes or less – is to provide you with a weekly shot of useful financial information.  My intention is to share principles, so that you will have more clarity and peace, that help you make better financial decisions.

Investment advice offered through Stratos Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor; DBA Riverbend Wealth Management.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Riverbend Wealth Management. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stratos Wealth Partners and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.


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